March 4, 2015
By Marc Bussanich
New York, NY—That’s what the president of a social service employee’s union president believes because she says the company doesn’t want to hire her members who will soon be out of work because the company they currently work for is going out of business.
On Monday we reported on the protest that AFSCME DC 1707 held outside America Works’ offices at 228 East 45th Street. They protested because up to 45 DC 1707 members working for Federation Employment & Guidance Services (FEGS), which is going belly up at the end of the month because they have a $20 million shortfall in their budget, will be laid off and that the company taking over FEGS' contract, America Works, doesn't want to hire DC 1707 members. According to the union, America Works, which provides similar employment services as FEGS for the disadvantaged, is telling the 45 social workers that they’ll have to first sign up with a temp employment agency before they can be considered for the job.
In the accompanying video, we interviewed DC 1707’s executive director, Victoria Mitchell, who believes that America Works is union busting.
“Who is America Works? Who are they? These people are union busting. I never heard of America Works. They’re not interested in abiding by the contract. They’re trying to bust the union. That’s what I believe,” said Mitchell.
Mitchell said she was surprised to learn just last week that America Works was getting the contract originally won by FEGS because Deputy Mayor Lilliam Barrios-Paoli said to the union that the city would try to preserve as many union jobs as FEGS' old contracts are dispersed to other providers.
“She has been working with us very good. But unfortunately she fell and broke her arm and so we haven’t been in contact with her. But when I heard that our 45 members have to apply with America Works, I was surprised. The city can’t enforce the agency to hire union members, but they were trying to work it out so that people can keep their jobs and there would be continuity of care,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell said America Works has to contact the union immediately to find a resolution.
“They need to call the union because these members need their jobs and they need to continue doing the wonderful job they’ve doing for so many years.”